Even as the new year looms, the free agent market in Major League Baseball hasn’t quite picked up yet. While some major players have found a home, a number of the top free agents on the market are still waiting for a satisfying offer, and it looks likely that their situations will drag into January. That means that teams shopping for help still have plenty of options on the board.
Here are 15 of the best remaining free agents that many contenders and non-contenders alike will be looking at.
15) Carlos Gonzalez, outfielder
A sub-par 2017 — with particular concerns about his production away from Coors Field — has definitely hurt Gonzalez’s market. He’s still only 32, though, and has shown himself to be a quality power bat as recently as 2016. He won’t be terribly expensive and he could be a short-term fix for a contender. Gonzalez could sign a short-term deal for 2018 in a bid to re-establish some value going forward.
14) Addison Reed, pitcher
Reed has quietly grown into a very solid setup man over the past few seasons, though he was fairly homer-prone in 2017. He was outstanding for the New York Mets the year before that, and was a massive part of the bullpen of the team that went to the World Series in 2015. While he’s not one of the very best relievers in the game, he’s certainly good enough to set up for a good team. He even has experience as a closer from his time with the Chicago White Sox and could do that for some teams.
Every single season, at least one team gets lucky with one of their offseason acquisitions. Typically, a player who didn’t get much attention during the offseason ends up being a key piece in a World Series or playoff run — just look at Charlie Morton of the Houston Astros or Brandon Morrow of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Here’s a look at 12 free agents who aren’t going to command massive contracts and astronomical bidding wars, but could still be big contributors for someone in 2018.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF
Gonzalez has some caveats associated with him. The biggest one is that he’s simply never been as good away from Coors Field as he was at home, and obviously he won’t have that luxury anymore. This is still a guy who hit 40 home runs two years ago and hit .298 with 20 homers in 2016, so there’s pop in the bat despite an awful 2017. The fact is that Gonzalez can still contribute to an offense, even away from Coors Field — he could be a nice bounceback candidate.
Steve Cishek, P
Once one of the game’s more respected closers, Cishek has been marred by some inconsistency over the past few seasons, which is not exactly a unique thing for relief pitchers. He was great under-the-radar with Seattle and especially Tampa Bay in 2017, posting a 2.01 ERA overall. He may be able to close for someone, but he’s been performing so well as a setup man that any interested teams may simply want him to fill that role and stay there.
Colorado Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez has spent nearly his entire MLB career with the organization, but he may be ready to look for greener pastures.
According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Gonzalez recently met with Rockies executives and told them that he would be interested in a trade.
Gonzalez reportedly wants to win and Colorado is not in position to do that, but the Rockies view him as not only a quality player on the field, but a leader in the clubhouse as well. That said, Heyman reported that the team will likely make him available and see what happens.
The 30-year-old outfielder is hitting .319 with 18 home runs in 2016, a year removed from a career-best 40 home run season. He has been injury prone in the past, but he has been healthy in 2016 and played 153 games in 2015. An elite hitter and a three-time Gold Glove winner, he would he a quality addition to virtually any lineup, and any team trading for him would have him through 2017 as well.
It seems that Gonzalez will not have the same issues former teammate Troy Tulowitzki did, clearly having felt blindsided by his move to Toronto. Gonzalez seems like he’d welcome a move.
During Sunday’s game between the Marlins and Rockies, Carlos Gonazalez made a play that might earn him a spot on a few highlight reels. However, his all out effort cost him a piece of jewelry.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Gonzalez charged in and laid out to make a diving catch, robbing Miami catcher Jeff Mathis of a would-be base hit.
When Gonzalez came up to bat in the top half of the following inning, it was pointed out during the television broadcast Gonzalez snapped the chain around his neck in half while making the great play. A replay was shown of him recognizing it upon reaching his feet, at which time he took the chain off and put it in his pocket.
It’s certainly not uncommon to see baseball players with chains around their neck on the field. This is the first time I’ve seen one damaged during a game though.
H/T For The Win
Outside of reigning NL MVP/galaxy destroyer Bryce Harper, the lineup of the Washington Nationals skews incredibly right-handed hitter-heavy. This was an imbalance the team attempted to address with their pursuit of Jason Heyward, and even if they lost out on Heyward to the Chicago Cubs, the objective still remains.
According to a report on Saturday by Pete Kerzel of MASNsports.com, the Nationals are in conversation with the Colorado Rockies about Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon, two lefty bats that would complement the team’s batting dynamic quite nicely.
Gonzalez, 30, had a strong 2015 campaign hitting .271 with 40 home runs, 97 RBIs, and an .864 OPS. The 29-year-old Blackmon also enjoyed a solid year hitting .287 with 17 home runs, 58 RBIs, and a .797 OPS.
While neither outfielder is likely to come cheap, the trade of Troy Tulowitzki last trade deadline at least signals a willingness by Colorado to part with their veterans in favor of a full-scale rebuild.
The Nationals have the prospects to potentially make a match happen. As a bit of sheer speculation, 21-year-old top pitching prospect Lucas Giolito lurks in Washington’s farm system as a piece Colorado could be coveting to bolster their historically underwhelming rotation.
Either Gonzalez or Blackmon would look great in the upper half of the Nationals batting order to give it a sense of equilibrium. Now, it’s just a matter of what the team is willing to give up.
Image Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The Colorado Rockies are reportedly exploring the possibility of trading away the core of their offense.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Rockies recently started telling teams to keep their “eyes and ears open” for potential trades involving shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and outfielder Carlos Gonzalez. Rockies owner Dick Monfort previously stated that he wanted to keep both players in 2015 and “always.”
Perhaps new general manager Jeff Bridich has convinced Monfort to reconsider.
Both Tulowitzki and Gonzalez underwent season-ending surgeries last August. The Rockies went on to finish the season 66-96, their fourth straight year with a losing record. Colorado has not been to the playoffs since 2009.
Prior to his hip injury, Tulowitzki was hitting .340 and having one of the best seasons of his career. The Rockies will likely have to convince teams that the 30-year-old is 100% healthy if they want to deal him, as he is still owed $114 million over the next six seasons. Gonzalez, 29, is owed $53 million over the next three seasons and would require far less commitment.
Rosenthal reports that the Rockies would likely not offer a “discount for injury,” meaning any interested teams would have to pay whatever price Tulowitzki and Gonzalez would bring if they were healthy. Unless they soften that stance or eat some signifcant money, a trade for either player will be unlikely.
On Tuesday, Gonzalez underwent surgery with a “foreign body” removed during the process.
As expected, more information regarding the procedure was released Wednesday.
Thanks to Rockies beat writer Thomas Harding (and trainer Keith Dugger), we now have a pretty accurate description of the mass removed from Carlos Gonzalez’s finger.
#Rockies trainer Keith Dugger says doc removed a "fatty mass with tentacles" from left index finger of OF Carlos Gonzalez. Could miss 5 was
— Thomas Harding (@harding_at_mlb) June 11, 2014
“These little benign tumors, which we hope it is, is probably the second most common finding in the finger besides cysts,” Dugger said via ESPN. “Usually repetitive trauma causes it.”
I’m far from an expert in the medical field, but I can see how something with tentacles could be the source of pain and swelling.
H/T Eye On Baseball